Blyth FA Cup - Nantwich Town's Weaver Stadium, pre-season games, community football

By Steve Sanders: The Nantwich Town squad has set off for Milton Keynes with a cup shock on their minds.

Fans, officials and members of the media crammed in to the Weaver Stadium for a final press conference ahead of their epic clash with the MK Dons tomorrow in the FA Cup First Round proper.

This weekend’s tie marks Nantwich’s first ever appearance at this stage of the cup, after 89 attempts at trying to get through the qualifying rounds.

The Evo-Stik Premier Division side take on a League One side four divisions and 99 league places above them in the football league pyramid – but defender Mat Bailey genuinely believes the Dabbers can cause an upset.

“Of course we have a chance,” he said. “I wouldn’t even bother travelling down there if I didn’t think we could win.

“You can see it around the club. There is a great atmosphere at the moment and that’s all down to the big cup draw.

“There are people here who have been part of the club for decades and it’s an honour for us as players to go out and represent the club.”

Bailey speaks as someone who already has first-hand experience of an FA Cup giant killing.

He was part of the Northwich Victoria side that beat Charlton Athletic 1-0 at this stage of the competition two years ago, a game in which he won the man of the match award.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to participate at this stage of the tournament before with Northwich,” he added.

“I know just what team spirit can achieve. When we managed to turn over Charlton it felt amazing and it remains the finest moment of my career so far.

“With that in mind, I want to try and create more memories so we’re not just going to make up the numbers tomorrow.

“It’s really exciting for all of the boys in the changing room and we hope that positive buzz can help us upset the odds down in Milton Keynes.”

Players are being treated to a night in a hotel close to Milton Keynes, knowing full well this is their cup final with the ITV cameras and national media reporters keen to catch a glimpse of a great upset.

The club believes close to 1,000 supporters could make the journey south on coaches, trains and in cars and minibuses to watch Jimmy Quinn’s side in what could be their finest hour.

BBC Radio Stoke will be covering the match live from Stadium mk from 2pm tomorrow.

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